NRG Energy offers to repower Astoria, Bowline plants in New York

NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) on May 20 filed with the New York State Public Service Commission proposals to repower the Astoria and Bowline power plants in part as a response to any possible shutdown of the 2,040-MW Indian Point nuclear plant.

These proposals were filed by NRG in a docket where the commission ordered the issuance earlier this year of a request for proposals for power and transmission projects in case Indian Point can’t get long-delayed license extensions from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Both of the NRG proposals were filed in redacted versions. But details of the Astoria project were in various unredacted or lightly redacted documents. The plan for Bowline, however, a 1,139-MW plant fired by oil and natural gas, was entirely redacted.

Longwood Energy Group (LEG), leading a team that includes Cambridge Energy Solutions, Newton Energy Group, and Economic Development Research Group, analyzed the impact of the Astoria repowering project on the New York wholesale electricity market and the New York State economy.

The LEG report said that NRG Energy has proposed to repower its 600-MW Astoria gas/oil-fired plant in New York City by replacing the plant’s seven oil-fired peaker units (100 MW) with a 520-MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) by mid-2016. “This project, first proposed in 2006, offers a number of tangible economic benefits to the people of New York State and New York City, including electricity ratepayers, other consumers, and citizens at large,” said the LEG report.

The LEG analysis found that, among other benefits, repowering the plant with a CCGT will reduce the wholesale cost of electricity in the region and state—savings that can be passed along to ratepayers by utilities. Over the 10 years covered by the analysis, replacing the seven turbines with a CCGT—as opposed to retiring them—is projected to decrease wholesale electricity prices significantly, saving ratepayers $2.9bn over 10 years.

The Astoria CCGT plant will provide enough power to supply approximately 3.4% of the projected 2017 demand in downstate New York and about 1.6% of total projected 2017 demand for New York State. This additional supply will reduce the need for generation from other power plants that would have higher operating costs and would have produced higher emissions. It would also help eliminate the need for expensive, long-distance transmission projects that provide little or no long-term economic benefits.

Attached to the May 20 filings was a copy of a January 2011 order from the commission that granted a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to NRG Astoria Power LLC for the construction of a 1,040 MW electric generating facility (Astoria Repowering Project) to replace the existing 600 MW-facility located at an industrial site in Long Island City, New York.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.